'Staging' can produce magical results


The real estate market is a lot more challenging for sellers for sellers today than it was a decade ago. Listings abound and home buyers are inclined to be more exacting in their needs and desires.

All the more reason to do whatever possible to make a home stand out from the competition. That is what the concept of 'staging' is all about, and the result is often a faster sale at a higher price.

Sheila Sabine, a Realtor with Prudential California Realty in Oakland, is a specialist in the art of staging. Her Montclair home, which she designed and helped build, was recently featured in SUNSET magazine in an article on the "The Changing Western Home."

Sabine holds a master's degree in psychology and the creative arts, and spent several years restoring Victorian homes and managing income property before going into real estate sales. She is also a graduate of Tokyo's Sogestsu Ikebana, one of the pre-eminent schools of Japanese flower arranging in the world.

Needless to say, she is enthusiastic about the benefits of staging.

"When your home is on the market, it is truly on view," Sabine says. "It

'. . . the result is often a faster sale at a higher price.'

—Sheila Sabine
'Staging Specialist

should convey an exciting and colorful portrayal of your life.

"A prospective buyer should feel welcomed, and touches like classical music playing, a fire burning, baskets with fresh fruit and that enticing smell of cookies or bread baking, will make people remember the experience of being there, and ideally, of course, want to live there."

Often, Sabine's clients will ask her to assist in the process, which she offers at no charge. The services she provides include bringing in furniture, flower arrangements, and other "props" needed to emphasize the beauty of the home.

She is also distinguished in the Village for her emphasis on live music at her open houses; recently, she hired a harpist to add a special note to the Sunday afternoon proceedings..


Sabine insists that all of this needn't cost a fortune, and the results can be more than worth a minimal investment. "Staging can be as simple as a few thoughtful, little touches," she says, "and greatly improves the chances of a fast sale."

She recalls walking into one Montclair house, which had been vacant without any offers for several months, until, finally, the listing expired. "There were bars on the windows," she remembers, "and it was dark and dingy, and priced very high."

She convinced the sellers to paint the interior, remove the bars, throw open the drapes, and lower the price. Sabine brought in some furniture that she keeps specifically for staging, and did her magic.

"We had an offer the first day we sold it," she says.

The Montclarion, Tuesday, October 26, 1993

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